For the first time ever, I just saw a podiatrist. I always thought they were just for warts and bunions – whoa was I wrong! Now I think every runner should see one!
Let me back up a little. About a month ago, I saw my primary care physician for my annual check up. I mentioned to her that two of the toes on my left foot have been a little painful (in slightly unexpected places) after running and I wondered if she had any thoughts. She thought I should see a podiatrist. In my typical fashion, I brushed it off as “not really a big deal.” I don’t know if she’s one of people in my life who has figured out my self-effacing nature or not, but she immediately said “it might not be a big deal now, but who knows what it may become.” Curses, she had a very good point!
Therefore, I went to see this new doctor. I have VERY good health insurance, (thank you giant publishing company that is nice enough to employ me!) so why not take advantage of it, right?
He looked at my feet (plural) for no more than 90 seconds and already knew what was up.
I went for two toes on my left foot, and right off the bat he told me that my right foot was the problem… and then he proceeded to tell me all about myself in the most fascinating way.
- “Your left leg is the stronger of the two.” (True, although I always thought it was because I’d had surgery on my right leg to remove a bone tumor)
- “When you lean/stand on one leg, it’s almost always your left. (True!)
- “You prefer wedges to a flat shoe.” (Well… sort of true. I have a bit of a love affair with converse-style sneakers… but I always walk on my toes, even when I’m barefoot)
He had another 12 of those fun insights. He blew my mind! And the reason my left toes hurt? Because they are doing extra work to compensate for my right foot!
So what’s the problem? When I explained this to my wonderful boyfriend, he didn’t quite understand me, so I hope I can do a better job explaining this here. In those 90 seconds of checking out my feet, Dr. Cooper “locked” my ankles. He basically stuck his thumbs in two specific spots on the front of my ankle. He said that my left foot falls within a “normal” variation – less than a 4% angle from the floor when locked. My right foot however, is over-pronated at 45% (so when the outside of my foot is on the ground, my big toe is still hanging out in the air). It does this to compensate for the fact that my right hip is slightly higher than my left hip… and my ankle dropped my foot so I could reach the floor.
Anyway, it can’t be fixed (because I’m older than 12 and no longer growing), just treated. I’ve had this for all of my (walking) past, and will continue to have it forever in the future.
I found this very interesting and I’m super glad I’ve never been a good little runner to have someone figure out my gait while buying shoes. I have a feeling that Dr. Cooper’s explanation is far superior to what the kid at the store would have told me.
So because I can’t realistically run in a neutral shoe on the left foot and a pronation shoe on the right, I’ll need some custom orthotic shoe inserts to balance me out (and make lots of minor aches and pains go away). I’ll have to save up for a little while because insurance won’t cover them, but I find it so intriguing.
Sorry for all of the podiatry jokes, but I like adding pictures to my posts and I don’t like feet!